Swaziland Govt Publishes Long List of Exceptions to Coronavirus 'Lockdown'

The Government of Swaziland (eSwatini) has published a long list of occupations that will be exempted from the 20-day lockdown against the coronavirus recently announced.

The Minister of Public Service Christian Ntshangase said at any one time half all public servants will be expected at work while the other half worked from home.

He told a press conference on Wednesday (25 March 2020), 'All essential services within the civil service including fire and emergency services, health services, meteorology services and security services will not be affected by this new system as they are expected to be fully at work.'

At the same press conference the Swazi Commerce Minister Manqoba Khumalo identified the following industries as essential during the partial lockdown: food retailers, consumer goods suppliers, manufacturers, agriculture and agro-processing, public transport, cross-border transport, fuel stations, financial services, waste disposal services, health workers and emergency response workers, fire and emergency services, security services, water and sanitation services, pharmacies and telecommunications.

On Tuesday King Mswati III, Swaziland's absolute monarch, declared the kingdom was to go into partial lockdown for 20 days from 27 March 2020.

He banned people from making all unnecessary movements and visits outside the perimeters of their home 'except to provide or acquire essential services'.

Non-essential travel between towns, cities and regions of the country is no longer permitted, except for medical reasons or to provide or acquire essential services. Public transport will continue to operate only for essential movement and with one metre distance between passengers. All bars are to closed but bottle stores will be allowed to operate from 11am-6pm on Mondays to Saturdays.

Schools, colleges and universities were closed last week after King Mswati declared a state of emergency.

As of 25 March 2020 there have been no reported deaths in Swaziland from coronavirus. Five people have reportedly tested positive.

At Wednesday's press conference Agriculture Minister Jabulani Mabuza said the government would ensure that there were no food shortages during the partial lockdown. 'We have instructed all importers of critical grains to stock up sufficient volumes,' he said.

Mabuza added, 'We request community leaders to indicate shortages of basic food items in their communities so that we can facilitate availability. We also encourage those who have food commodities to use them sparingly and practice barter trade with those in need.'

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